Bathinda

Bathinda(ਬਠਿੰਡਾ) is one of the oldest cities in Punjab and the current administrative headquarters of Bathinda District. It is situated in north-western India in the Malwa (Punjab) Region and as of 2001 has a population of 217,389.

It is home to two modern thermal power plants, a fertilizer plant, a large oil refinery, a Zoo, and the Qila Mubarak fort. Bathinda is one of the biggest food grain and cotton markets in northern India, and the area around Bathinda has become a large grape growing area. Bathinda's railway junction is Asia's biggest and is currently undergoing a project for modernization. The Multinational Corporation Pepsi processes horticultural products grown in Bathinda.

 
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History

It is believed that Rao Bhatti established the modern town of Bathinda in the Lakhi jungle area in the third century, and it was captured from him by the Brars. Bala Rao Bhatti inhabited the city in 965 AD, naming it Bhatti vinda after his surname. The city also remained the capital of Raja Jaipal. Later the city name was changed to Bhatinda and now a days it is known as Bathinda.

In 1004, Mahmud of Ghazni besieged the local fort, which was located on the route from the northwest into the rich Ganges valley. In 1189, Muhammad Ghori attacked and occupied the fort of Bathinda. Prithvi Raj Chauhan, the ruler of this region, managed to recover possession of the fort thirteen months later in 1191 after a fierce battle.

Razia Sultan, the first female ruler of India, was imprisoned at Bathinda in April, 1240. She was released in August of that year through the efforts of Altunia, the local governor. Both Altunia and Razia married but were killed by robbers near Kaithal on October 13[citation needed].

The Sidhu-Brars were thrown out of Bathinda during the Lodhi's rule, but were restored to the area by Babur. A few years later, Roop Chand, a staunch Sikh, came onto the scene of Punjab history. Phul, the second son of Roop Chand, started the practice of langar (community kitchen) for the people in the Lakhi jungle area and built a fort around 1654.

With the formation of the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) on May 5, 1948, Bathinda District came into existence on August 20, 1948. Its headquarters was originally at Faridkot, but relocated to Bathinda in 1953.

After 1953, many changes were made to Bathinda District's geographical boundaries. Muktsar and Mansa districts were separated from Bathinda

Geography

Bathinda is also famous for having one of the biggest military chhaunis (cantonments) in Asia. Rampura Phul, Goniana, Mansa, Talwandi Sabo, Bhucho Mandi, Nathana, Tungwali and Gubalgard are all small towns near Bathinda. Bathinda is about 1-2 hours distance from Sangrur, Dhuri, Kotkapura, Faridkot and Muktsar. Ludhiana and Patiala are about 3 hours from Bathinda. Chandigarh is about 4 hours from Bathinda.

There are direct trains that run from Delhi to Bathinda via Patiala, Ambala,Hisar and Rohtak, Jind route. The journey takes approximately six hours.

Areas worth visiting are The Mall, Dhobi Bazar, Rose Garden, Model Town, Fort at Bathinda, known as 'Qila Mubarak', Gurudwara Shri Hazi Rattan, the three lakes near the thermal plant, and others.

Summer temperatures can be as high as 50°C (122°F), and winter temperatures as low as 0°C (32°F). The weather is generally dry, but is very humid from mid-May to the end of August. Rainfall is primarily from the south-west due to monsoon weather, and is concentrated in the period July to mid-September.

Places of Interest

Bathinda Fort: The ancient fort shaped like a ship is said to be built by Bhatti Rao.  It was captured by Maharaja Ala Singh of Patiala in 1754.  A small gurudwara here commemorates the visit of Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji.

Mausoleum of Pir Baba Haji Rattan: Pir Baba Haji Rattan is said to have visited Mecca, as an ambassador of Raja Bhoj.  After returning back he settled down in Bathinda.  His manusoleum or mazar is located between the Civil Hospital and the Grain Market.  Large number of devotees, irrespective of their faiths and belief visit the mazar. The place was further sanctified with the visits of Guru Nanak Dev ji and Guru Gobind Singh ji.

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